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Mike Nock
Mike Nock 

Mike Nock



Mike Nock (ONZM) is one of the most internationally recognised masters of jazz in Australasia. Born and raised in New Zealand, he spent a brief but important period in Australia before heading overseas where he spent 25 years in the USA playing and recording with many leading musicians (including Coleman Hawkins, Tony Williams, Yusef Lateef), and establishing his own leadership credentials. Since moving back to Australia in 1985, he has remained at the forefront of Australasian creative music as a composer, pianist, and recording artist.

His group The Fourth Way (1978-61) garnered international recognition, establishing his credentials as a leading creative musician and composer. With a large catalogue of original compositions and award-winning recordings, he continues to tour widely, and many jazz and classical artists have recorded his compositions.

Inducted into the Bell Awards Australian Jazz Hall of Fame in 2009, his biography, Serious Fun –– the Life and Music of Mike Nock (Norman Meehan, Victoria University Press) was published in 2010, and in 2003 he was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). In 2014 he was awarded Australia’s top music honour, The Don Banks Prize.

Promethean Editions (NZ) released a book of his piano music, Firestarters 3 - The Mike Nock Piano Collection, and his jazz compositions are published worldwide. A range of his current music is featured in VIRTUOSI, an award winning documentary by dancer/cinematographer Sue Healey.

His trio with Christchurch-born bassist Brett Hirst and Australian drummer James Waples is regarded as one of the top modern jazz groups in Australasia. Both musicians have played with Mike for many years and are featured on several of his award-winning albums. Very much in demand with other top groups they bring a wealth of contemporary experience to his music.


An artist with nothing to prove but much to say.


One of the world’s key jazz pianists for the past 45 years.
John Shand, SMH, January 2013.


Visit Mike's website here: Mike Nock.





Mike Nock shares a few insights about his work for double trios, Vicissitudes, a fusion of jazz and classical music that was premiered in Christchurch by the Mike Nock Trio and NZTrio.

Philip Tremewan from the Christchurch Arts Festival suggested I write a piece for two trios using a set of variations to show the different approaches each group might bring to the same piece of music. This was an interesting and challenging starting point, and because it presented me with so many options the composition took shape very slowly –– I ended up with more than eighty revisions!

Throughout the entire process of writing Vicissitudes, at the back of my mind was the wish to contribute something positive to the people of Christchurch. They’ve had to deal with such extreme difficulties over the last few years, so I wanted this piece to convey a sense of resilience and positivity.

The work is fully scored for NZTrio and semi-scored for my trio. Over many years working together, my trio has developed a largely intuitive approach to making music, so performing with NZTrio presents a very different musical dynamic. Improvisation is central to my trio's role, as this is where we do our best work, but NZTrio play pretty much what's written. A large part of the enjoyment and interest for all six players is to explore the musical opportunities we discover when rehearsing and performing the piece.

Even though I work with many different variation forms as an improviser, this particular project presented a fresh set of challenges to test me. I considered several approaches, and at one point thought I might even use Pokarekare Ana as a central theme, but eventually I settled on a piece constructed from a descending and ascending minor scale, a very simple idea that lends itself to endless variation.

My main wish is for listeners to share an uplifting musical experience. As I get older I'm becoming increasingly aware of the limitless possibilities that surround us every day, particularly those that can be realised through creating music. I feel extremely fortunate to be living in a time and culture where so much wonderful music is widely available.




Mike Nock Trio & NZTrio

Last Updated on Sunday, 16 October 2016 15:51